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What Is Kidney Failure and How Does It Affect the Elderly?

By February 27, 2019Uncategorized

Kidney failure is a serious medical condition. According to information from the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestion, and Kidney Disease, more than 660,000 Americans are currently living with the effects of kidney failure — about two-thirds are on active dialysis and one third have had a kidney transplant.  

Notably, the elderly are at a higher risk of developing kidney problems. For those suffering through kidney issues, it is crucial that they receive proper medical care and that an effective treatment plan is created. For qualified beneficiaries of federal programs such as EEOICPA or RECA, free home healthcare services may be accessible.

What Causes Kidney Failure?

Also known as end-stage renal disease (ESRD), kidney failure is often linked to an underlying medical condition that has gradually caused permanent damage to a patient’s kidneys. What specific medical condition causes kidney failure? It depends entirely on the individual patient. There are a number of different medical issues that can cause a person to develop kidney disease or general kidney problems — and that, eventually, can cause outright kidney failure. In the United States, the most common cause of kidney failure is diabetes. Another relatively common cause of kidney failure is high blood pressure. Though, there are certainly many other potential causes as well, including autoimmune diseases, genetic conditions, and severe urinary tract problems.

The Effects of a Kidney Failure

Kidney failure is a very serious medical condition. It will affect the patient in a wide range of different ways. As a person’s kidney stop functioning properly, waste products — often referred to as ‘uremia’ — will begin to build up in the bloodstream. If not treated, this has the potential to be a fatal condition. Kidney failure requires immediate attention. When kidney failure begins to occur, a patient will typically experience some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Severe fatigue;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Cramping in their legs;
  • The development of skin problems;
  • Cardiovascular blockage; and
  • Weakening of bones.

With kidney issues, the sooner medical intervention occurs, the more likely it is that the patient will have better results. Notably, elderly people are at far higher risk of developing complications from kidney problems. The elderly are inherently vulnerable. When kidneys fail, a patient will likely need immediate dialysis or a kidney transplant to stay alive. The good news is that with proper medical care, many of the adverse effects associated with uremia can be controlled.

How to Care for Elderly Patients With Kidney Problems

If your elderly loved one is suffering from any type of kidney problem, it is imperative that they get access to the proper medical care. In many cases, home healthcare services are an important part of their overall medical treatment plan. Ideally, kidney issues should be addressed well before the point of actual kidney failure. With elderly patients who are dealing with the early stages of chronic kidney disease, home healthcare treatment will often focus on facilitating healthy behaviors that can help to manage the development of the condition. Among other things, this includes meal planning and exercise routines that will promote the maintenance of a healthy weight and the avoidance of the things that exacerbate chronic kidney disease, such as alcohol consumption, smoking, and unapproved medications.

As chronic kidney disease progresses, and the risk of kidney failure increases, more comprehensive home healthcare treatment and medical services may be required. This could include:

  • Regular monitoring of kidney function;
  • Direct treatment of risk factors;
  • More intensive dietary modifications; and
  • Management of anemia and other deficiencies.

In its more severe stages, professional medical treatment, including home healthcare treatment, may be required on an almost continuous basis. With stage 4 or stage 5 chronic kidney disease, the patient will likely need dialysis or a transplant. For elderly people with kidney failure, this can be deeply challenging. There are many complicated issues that must be addressed. A personalized care plan should be developed to ensure that each elderly patient gets access to the best medical treatment and that they are able to retain the highest possible quality of life. Your elderly loved one can still live a happy, fulfilling life.

Learn More About No-Cost Home Healthcare Options

At United Energy Workers Healthcare and Four Corners Health Care, we offer comprehensive assistance to EEOICPA and RECA beneficiaries. If you or your family member is qualified to receive benefits and is currently suffering from kidney failure or any related medical condition, we are here to help. Many other illnesses are also covered by energy workers compensation programs. To get immediate assistance from our home healthcare professionals, please do not hesitate to contact us today.